Commitment, Capacity and Culture

Solutions for the Direct Support Workforce Crisis

The intent of this paper is to provide practical solutions to the unfolding crisis concerning America’s direct support workforce: a presiding culture in which the abuse and neglect of people with disabilities at the hands of DSPs continues, and the growing demand of higher‐skilled workers to meet future needs. If the human services system is to forthrightly address these issues, it must not rely solely upon increasing oversight and safeguards to better identify, investigate and remediate abuse when it occurs. It must develop a professional direct support workforce, trained in universal, competency‐based skill standards and held to a high code of person‐centered ethical conduct that will keep abuse and neglect from happening in the first instance ‐ while meeting the growing demand for their services in the future.